Interview: Alexa Poppe
Each week we chat with a wedding photographer and find out a bit more about them and how it all began. Today we catch up with Alexa Poppe, a creative, relaxed and natural wedding photographer based in Cornwall.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
It was on family holidays to Greece where I was first inspired to take photos by my stepfathers passion for photography and Greec’es captivating light. It was my stepfather who showed me the basics back in the good old days of film. Later I studied in Hamburg and eventually travelled to Southeast Asia and Australia, where a passion for travel reportage photography was ignited by the colours of these diverse cultures. Today I live in Cornwall where I’m inspired by the scenery and outdoor lifestyle. I love to capture people, places and cultures. Four years that I started my own wedding photography business.
What do you particularly like about photographingweddings?
I love the how every wedding is unique, admire how much effort people put in, and I’m inspired by how much joy people have on these days. I love the challenge to capture the story and essence of these special days. I know my albums and images will mean so much to not just the couple, but to the whole family and friends also, and that they will be treasured for generations to remind them of their special day. It attaches a unique special meaning to an image that you don’t get from other types of photography. It’s a fantastic feeling when couples tell me they’ve framed one of my pictures and hung it on their wall or when I receive a personal thank you card.
How would you describe your style and approach?
The way I shoot is informal/ reportage style. I like to take very natural images, and don’t put the couple/guests into poses. I want the wedding couple to be as comfortable as possible and enjoy have their photograph taken as much as possible. After all when you look back at your wedding album you don’t want to remember how you felt being posed, you want to remember how you were really feeling. I’d like to act like a guest, that way I can get right into the action without people being conscious of me, so I can observe and record those moments as they happen. That way I can capture the whole story of the day and not just a selection of nice images. Of course I still do group and couple shots, but I always recommend to keep them to a minimum and not spending hours on them. I also ask the couple to spend a small amount of time of around 30 minutes ( I don’t want to take you away from your guests too long) to capture some couple portraits, this is still as un-posed as possible. I want everyone to just enjoy being with each other, after all they just got married! I also think people look their best when they’re captured naturally.
What do you find the most challenging thing about capturing weddings?
The ever changing conditions, like dark churches and rainy days.
If you were asked to shoot a destination wedding, where would you love it to be and why?
It would have to be near a beach somewhere, probably in the tropics, maybe Hawaii or Fiji. I just love beach weddings, they really have a relaxed feel to them and it’s always fun.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Look through their portfolio and look at photos of whole weddings not just a few images of styled shots you like. It is a total different thing to set up a styled shoot where you can control the light and theme compared to photographing a wedding where conditions like light, weather, location etc. are rapidly changing. Which is a much bigger challenge for a photographer. So I suggest to find out if your photographer is experienced in weddings. When I get half day packages booked I often hear people saying my family member is quite good with a camera and he can capture the rest of the day or similar. You may get some good snaps out of it, but to photograph a wedding will need lots of technical skills, experience and professional equipment. Not to mention the days or weeks of professional editing. Most importantly I suggest you meet your wedding photographer before the big day.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Plan meticulously, but be relaxed and flexible about it when something doesn’t quite go to plan!
This is your big day and you should enjoy it, So sit back, relax and don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing …enjoy!
I would also say make sure you make time for the photographs, but don’t spend hours on group shots, maybe just 10 minutes max as people get tired and bored posing for too long.
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
There isn’t a particular moment really. I would say there is a best moment at almost every wedding I shoot, one which puts a big smile in my face or a little tear in my eye.